from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Completely autonomous drones that can decide who or what to strike are still many years away from becoming a reality, but the military has already developed various unmanned aircraft that it's been using primarily for gathering intelligence (rather than for attacking targets). Here are a few more examples of some of the high-tech flying weapons that exist today.
- The $1.8 billion prototype Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator was recently launched into the air from a catapult. This marked the first-ever catapult launch of a drone from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. [url]
- The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the most advanced stealth fighter jet in history, seems to have a problem with suffocating its pilots during normal flight. Since 2008, pilots would frequently and inexplicably suffer from what appeared to hypoxia -- in one case, a pilot hit a tree while landing and didn't even realize it. The cause of the problem was only recently identified as being due to a faulty valve on the pilots' life-support vest. You'd think that after spending almost $80 billion on these planes, it wouldn't have taken them almost five years to figure this out. [url]
- After 16 years and billions of dollars, the "Airborne Laser" project -- a 747 jumbo-jet equipped with a powerful laser that can shoot missiles out of the sky -- has finally been scrapped. Cost prohibitive and impractical, the Airborne Laser would likely have cost $92,000/hour to fly if it had worked. [url]